Thursday, September 20, 2001

Organizations conduct solicitations in various ways: through the mail, telephone, door-to-door appeals, solicitors stationed outside busy stores,

Internet, magazines, newspaper ads, radio and television, according to Cynthia Beauman, executive director of Northwest Aging Association.

Appeals should clearly describe the specific services the charity intends to provide and whether the organization intends to meet the long-term or immediate needs of the victims. The charity should be able to provide you with written material describing their programs, anticipated expenditures, and how they will carry out activities.

The Better Business Bureau offers the following tips for donors to consider:

Be wary of appeals that are long on emotion, but short on describing what the charity will do to address the needs of victims and their families.

If you contribute, do not give cash. Make a check or money order out to the name of the charitable organization, not to the individual collecting the


Watch for excessive pressure for on-the-spot donations. Be wary of any request to send a "runner" to pick up your contribution.

Do not give your credit card number or other personal information to a telephone solicitor.

Do not hesitate to ask for written information that describes the charity program(s) and finances such as the charity's latest annual report and financial statements.

Be wary of charities that are reluctant to answer reasonable questions about their operations, finances and programs.

Find out what the charity intends to do with any excess contributions.

Patriotic seniors, the opportunities to give will

continue. The aftermath of the tragedy will not disappear when the media and headlines do. For more information, call the Better Business Bureau at

1-800-222-1600 or contact the BBB's website at www.desmoines.bbb.org

Irene Stoll

Northwest Aging Assoc.